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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grass Fed Beef

In order to be healthier and more environmentally friendly, Marisa and I have decided that we want to start eating meat that is grass fed as opposed to meat from mass feedlots. This is a sacrifice for us since grass fed meat is more expensive. However, we also decided that our meat portions are too large so maybe if we eat smaller portions it will offset the higher cost of meat. It is also worth spending a little more since there are many benefits to those who are willing to pay extra for

Grass Fed Beef is Healthier

In 2009 researchers at Clemson University did a comprehensive comparison of grass fed beef to grain fed beef and made the following conclusions. Grass fed beef is:

  1. Lower in total fat
  2. Higher in beta-carotene
  3. Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
  4. Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
  5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  6. Higher in total omega-3s
  7. A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
  8. Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
  9. Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
  10. Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease

Keep in mind that these benefits don’t even take into account the benefits that grass fed beef has on the environment or the increased quality of life for the animals themselves.

For those of you that are interested in buying grass fed meat it can be economical to buy in bulk. There are many small farms and ranches that will allow you to buy one fourth ore on half of a cow. I found this great website that you can use to find local farmers that are willing to sell you their grass fed products. Click on the link and then click on your state and you will find local farmers that you can support. This website also has some great literature on the benefits of pasture based farms.

Mike Johnson

Friday, December 18, 2009

Michael Pollan

I wanted to post this this summer, but we had so many other articles it got lost in the shuffle. It is a funny little clip of the famous Michael Pollan being interviewed by Stephen Colbert.


How feasible do you all think it is to try to eat foods with five ingredients or less?


Sunday, December 13, 2009

December Harvest

Even December yields a feast from the backyard farm. Today’s breakfast is broccoli quiche.

I love Fall broccoli. Maturing as the weather gets cold gives it a milder taste than spring broccoli that matures as the weather gets hot. Fall broccoli also has fewer pest problems. And I enjoy harvesting fresh vegetables from the garden in December.
Fresh eggs taste best on winter mornings.

1 frozen piecrust
4 eggs and 4 egg whites
1 cup chopped broccoli steamed for 5 minutes
Medium size onion or 2 scallions, slivered
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hold back ¼ cup of the cheddar cheese and whisk together all other ingredients. Pour into the pie crust and sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top. Bake on lower rack in oven for 35 minutes or until set. You can substitute spinach for broccoli and add ham if you want." I am convinced that "REAL SALT" from Redmond, Utah that you can order online (www.realsalt.com) has a delicate sweeter taste than other table salts. Try a blind taste test.
Zoom in for a mouthwatering look. Maybe we'll leave a quiche for Santa instead of cookies.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

King Corn Movie Review

This movie has been in my Netflix watch it now queue for months but I just haven’t had the time to watch it. Marisa and I finally set some time aside for a date last week and watched this documentary. I thought it was really good but I would recommend forgoing the popcorn while watching it.

If you have read the book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma “by Michael Pollan the overall feel of this movie will be very familiar. The makers of the film show that a vast quantity of what we eat in America is corn, mainly from corn syrup and corn fed animals. It is an entertaining journey that gives us a view of small town America, farming, and where our food comes from.

Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis are two friends from Boston that decide to farm an acre of corn in Iowa and then track how the corn is disseminated through our food supply. They show that the corn they grow is essentially inedible and can only be made into a food-like product through extensive processing. A discussion is made into the evils of corn syrup and it’s empty calories, as well as the evils of the feedlots that feed their animal a diet of mainly corn which is then passed on to us when we eat meat.

In my opinion, this movie was more educational entertainment than propaganda. I consider this to be a good thing. Some might consider the movie makers to be biased against modern food practices, but I feel that this bias is presented with facts and numbers, and less on emotional hype.

Like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” I don’t feel that a thorough discussion is made about the economics behind our food supply. I think most of us would agree that we would like to be healthier, but there is an economic impact made by this decision. Changing our food supply is a lot more complicated than just wanting it to be different. We need it to make economical sense.

I think this movie is a great movie and I hope more people watch it. It has instilled in me a stronger desire to eat healthier and to take a stand against some of the unhealthy practices in our food supply. How do we take a stand? Make it economical. Stop buying non-food products that are disguised as food. Sacrifice a little of your income to buy grass fed beef or natural foods. In addition to this, and even more importantly, do what you can to create your own food supply. Whether it’s a small garden or a large property with grass fed cows, anything we do will make a difference. This movie increased my desire to have a bigger property where I can raise my own livestock the right way. In the mean time I am trying to find other ideas to eat better and to change our purchasing habits. There are a lot of ideas on our website on becoming more self-sufficient.

What are you doing to create your own food supply?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Save Energy and Money

So my husband was browsing websites looking for some ways that we could save energy, thus save some money. He stumbled across one website that suggested you not open your fridge until you have a few things to get out as opposed to opening the fridge for each item. By doing this you could save a whopping 50 cents per week!!! Hmmm.....we have a long way to go to get to that point. Kids are just drawn to that fridge, as soon as it is opened, they are mesmerize, and could gaze into it for hours if allowed.
Even worse than the fridge is the front door. It was 19 degrees here today, you would think that my kids would remember to shut the door, nope. You know how they have cards that sing a song or give you a message each time it is opened? I'm thinking I need some sort of device like that installed on my front door. Each time it is opened, a recording of my voice saying "Please shut the door!" would play. Now that is a money saving tip right there.

So, what are your REALISTIC energy saving/money saving tips?